Bike Polo: A Wild Ride of a Sport
In Great Britain, horses, a grass field, and hats that look quite ridiculous are the face of polo, but in Los Angeles, the game has a different image.
The rules are the same, but the L.A. Bike Polo Club plays in a hard court rink and the team rides bicycles.
“It was like hockey, meets basketball, meets I don’t know. You know, and I was intrigued. I wanted to go in and play,” said Javier Sanchez, just getting off the court.
They meet three times a week, bringing along only a few pieces of equipment. They ride their own individually decorated bikes and handle the ball with a mallet made from a ski pole and gas piping.
Players find the toughest challenge of the game is keeping their feet off the ground. Even for the most experienced player, a fall or two is inevitable.
“Falling down as the best part, I would laugh at myself,” said Gabby Rodriguez, who was involved in one of the few crashes throughout the game.
It takes an amazing amount of coordination and practice, but the club welcomes new members.
“We have a rookie night and everyone can just get the feel for it and have fun with it,” said Krista Nicole.
Nicole was one of the first players on the team. She and a few other experienced members went to the World Championships in Seattle a few weeks ago.
“It was really awesome to see everything come together and then see people from all over the world come and play polo. And then out with players from German, and Italy, and Australia,” said Nicole.
The urban sport is growing internationally and in L.A. There are rumors of two new clubs in the early phases of start-up, including one on the Westside and another at USC.
“It’s an up and coming sport, you know, and I’m pretty sure a couple of years from now it’s gonna be something awesome,” said Sanchez.